EDITOR'S NOTE: This article was originally written in 2018 - before COVID-19. Please be sure to check with destinations for hours and social distancing guidelines. If you're spending much of your time at home, go straight to #5 for ideas on being a guest in your own garden.
The heat of summer is upon us in most of the US. While it might be tempting to continue planting, the next optimum time to plant perennials and shrubs is fall.
So what' a gardener to do besides maintenance chores? (And hopefully by following our tips you don't have too many of those!)
Here are 5 of my favorite gardening-related and relaxing things to do now the rush of Spring planting is over.
1. Visit Botanical Gardens
My all-time favorite garden to visit is Longwood Gardens here in Southeastern PA. Pictured above are the fountains at Longwood which are featured in a spectacular show. The property was originally a private estate owned by Pierre duPont, Before he died duPont created a foundation so that the property could be enjoyed by the public. Today. Longwood Gardens is a center to botanical education, research in sustainability, and a beautiful place to visit during all seasons.
But beware, it is easy to get overwhelmed here at Longwood or at any botanical garden since there is usually so much to see. Look to get inspiration in one area (like perennials or indoor plants for example) and then just enjoy your tour of the rest of the attractions. For more information events and tickets, visit their website at longwoodgardens.org
2. Get Outta Town
I love to find small towns that have enjoyed a resurgence in recent years. Downtown improvement area are everywhere as people work to revitalize shopping, art and restaurant districts. In most cases, businesses and residents are encouraged to do plantings and container gardens as part of the beautification project.
One of our favorite towns to visit is Frederick, MD. This town is steeped in Civil War History and has worked really hard to help local businesses flourish. And gardens and planters are definitely part of the effort. The photo above is of the gardens around the canal that runs through part of town.
Below is a trumpet vine decorating a fence around one of the many outdoor dining areas of a local restaurants.
And this swath of Echinacea at a park entrance was stunning.
3. Check Out Your Local Cooperative Extension
Every state has a land grant university. And they usually have a cooperative extension and/or a Master Gardener program. Many of these have demonstration gardens. These are great places to visit to find native plants and commercially available plants that will work great in your area. The goal of the Master Gardener Program is education so you should be able to find lots of good info at their office. And they may have workshops as well.
The photo below is of part of the Demo Garden at the cooperative extension where I spent 10 years working as a Master Gardener.
4. Get Together with Your Fellow Gardeners
Create your own garden tour with a few of your friends. Visit their gardens and invite them to yours so everyone can admire each other's hard work. Remember to keep this fun and relaxed - not formal! I tend to get my best ideas from other gardeners and love to get a peek at what they've done.
5. Be a Guest in Your Own Garden
With the rush of everyday life, it's easy to forget to slow down and enjoy what we have. I love for things to be special, even if it's just a quiet meal for my partner and I. So I like to mix up cocktails and mocktails with a simple appetizer for us to enjoy while he's grilling out on the deck. I like summer dinners to be easy so that we can relax and enjoy sitting on the deck, looking at the garden, and the wildlife in our backyard.
You've worked hard so be sure take time to sit back, relax, and enjoy what you've created.